A passenger can make advance reservations online through the IRCTC portal, which is the e-ticketing arm of Indian Railways. Advance reservations can be made up to 120 days in advance, excluding the date of journey at the train originating station, according to IRCTC’s website – irctc.co.in. To strengthen the online ticket reservation system, including the Tatkal scheme, the government has taken many measures. This was recently stated by Minister of State of Railways Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha. Tatkal schemeis meant for passengers who want to travel at a short notice. Indian Railways carries over two crore passengers daily.
Here are some of the measures taken by Railways to strengthen the online ticket reservation system:
A maximum of six tickets in a month can be booked by a user from one user ID. But 12 tickets can be booked by a user in a month if the user ID is verified and one of the passengers is Aadhaar verified, the Ministry of Railways said.
A user can book only two tickets during opening advance reservation period between 8:00 am and 10:00 am.
One user can have only one login session active at one point of time. One user can do only one login at one point of time either from multiple windows of same browser or different browsers.
Quick book functionality (single page for booking tickets) is not available between 8:00 am and 12:00 noon.
Captcha has been provided at login, passenger detail and payment webpages. Captcha is a computer program which is meant to distinguish human from machine input. It helps in thwarting spam and automated extraction of data from websites.
Furthermore, an additional security question is asked from the user randomly after passenger input page related to user personal information, e.g. user name, email, mobile number, check box etc.
A minimum input time has been set for different input page. For example, minimum input time for Captcha on passenger details page and payment page is set to 5 seconds.
Standard form filling time of passenger details in passenger detail form is set at 25 seconds irrespective of number of passengers.
A minimum time check of 10 seconds is set for users to carry out payments.
For payment through net banking, one-time password (OTP) system has been made mandatory for all banks for net banking.
Agents are not allowed to book tickets between 08:00 am to 08:30 am, 10:00 am to 10:30 am and 11:00 am to 11:30 am to prevent cornering of tickets at the time of opening of Tatkal and advance reservation period bookings. Aadhaar Card is mandatory for agents registration.